Family of Portland's Jewsbury safe after Missouri tornados

Jack Jewsbury of the Portland Timbers

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PORTLAND, Ore. — News of the severe tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., on Saturday, and images of the aftermath, hit home for Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury.

The nine-year MLS veteran was born in Joplin and lived there for the first “four or five years” of his life, he said.

Jewsbury’s parents, as well as those of his wife, Brittany, live an hour away from Joplin in Springfield, Mo. But Jewsbury said he has numerous relatives living in Joplin.

“This touched close to home,” he said. “I’m glad that [my relatives] are safe.”

Jewsbury said he has an uncle who lost a truck accessories business that was destroyed by the storm. The uncle walked through a debris field for 10 to 15 blocks just to reach the business, and all that was left was a concrete slab. One of Jewsbury’s cousins lost a home, as did another aunt and uncle.

Growing up, Jewsbury said tornado warnings were common this time of year.

“Occasionally one would touch down and you take cover,” he said. “You always think, ‘It’s not going to happen to me.’”

On Saturday, it nearly did. As Jewsbury spoke to his dad on the phone, forecasters predicted the twister would move in the direction of Springfield.

“It was a scary evening,” Jewsbury said of waiting to hear the fate of his family and friends.

The Timbers are working on a plan to partner with the Red Cross during next Sunday’s home game against D.C. United. There will be a way to text donations for disaster relief before, during and after the game, Jewsbury said. More details will be available soon at www.portlandtimbers.com.

"I'm thankful to the Timbers for getting involved," Jewsbury said.